NFF Reveals Why Abuja Stadium Was Abandoned

The Nigeria Football Federation has revealed its reason for abandoning the Abuja National Stadium.

NFF Secretary-General Mohammed Sanusi told the News Agency of Nigeria that the national stadium currently lacks the necessary facilities for the teams to play conveniently.

However, he said some states had indicated their interest in hosting the national teams.

According to reports women’s national teams have taken refuge at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, while the Super Eagles have been playing their matches at the Uyo Stadium.

Sanusi said, “Some of these states indicated their interest in hosting the teams and that is why we went there. The Abuja National Stadium is under renovation and so there is no facility for us to play our matches here.

“We have our technical centre here, but there are no dressing rooms. So we are making efforts to see if the dressing rooms can be provided.”

The secretary added that the football house was planning to take the matches of the teams across the country, so that Nigerians can watch their national teams play live.

 

Russia 2018: Ticket Sales Begins On Thursday

Ticket sales for the world’s biggest football event, 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, is set to resume on Thursday on a first-come first-served basis.

A total of 622,117 tickets have been successfully allocated to subscribers, even though this was subject to payment being made later.

This was also at the conclusion of the first window of sales phase from Oct. 1 to Oct. 12.

According to a report by the FIFA Media Office on Tuesday, some 3,496,204 tickets had initially been requested with many ticket products and matches being heavily oversubscribed.

This requires the allocation of tickets through a random selection draw process carried out in the presence of a public notary.

During this process FIFA also identified a number of ticket applications which were not eligible to enter into the random selection draw.

For example, ticket applications for team-specific ticket series — for teams that are no longer able to qualify — as well as ticket applications that violated the household restrictions.

This is in the category of applying for a maximum of four tickets for up to seven matches.

From the total number of applications, majority have come from Russia, and based on results of the Random Selection Draw process 57 percent of tickets were allocated to Russian fans.

Tickets allocated to international fans account for 43 percent of the total number of allocated tickets.

The US, Chinese, German, Brazilian, Israeli, English, Finnish, Mexican and French fans all rank in the top ten in this category.

During the upcoming sales period, which starts on Thursday and end on Nov. 28, fans will be able to purchase tickets in real time on FIFA.com/tickets.

They will get immediate confirmation of successful applications, subject to availability.

Football fans were advised to place their order as soon as the sales period opens.

This is because high demand is expected and the remaining inventory following the random selection draw sales period was likely to sell out very quickly.

Tickets purchased during sales phases 1 and 2 will be delivered free of charge to fans in the weeks leading up to the tournament.

Deliveries have been planned to start in April or May of 2018, even though this is subject to change.

Tickets may be purchased using payment cards of Visa, the Official Payment Services Partner of FIFA.

Purchases can also be made by other accepted payment methods.

FIFA’s Head of Ticketing, Falk Eller, said the world football body was already overwhelmed by the positive response from both Russian and international fans so far.

“’With only a few teams still to qualify, we are again expecting high demand once sales resume on Thursday.

“Considering such remarkable interest in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia from fans all over the world, we will like to once again stress that the only official, legitimate and user-friendly source to purchase tickets is the FIFA.com/tickets website.

“Fans who purchase tickets from other sources put themselves at significant risk of missing out on the World Cup, and of course we will not want that to happen.

“Category 4 tickets, which are exclusively reserved for Russian residents, will not be available for purchase during the upcoming first-come, first-served sales period.

“This is due to the full allocation of the currently available category four tickets during the previous sales period.

“FIFA will also make a dedicated allocation of tickets available for disabled people, people with limited mobility and fans classified as obese,” Eller said.

 

FG to Start Manufacturing Made in Nigeria Sports Equipment — SGF

Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Hajiya Habiba Lawal, has said government was making efforts to commence local manufacturing of sports equipment. Materials such as balls, goal posts, nets, and other sporting kits were distributed to 55 schools in Adamawa

Lawal, who was represented by Dr William Alo, Permanent Secretary, Special Duties in the office of the SGF made this known on Saturday at the official unveiling, launch and presentation of sports equipment to 2000 primary schools by National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) in Yola.

who was represented by the deputy governor, Mr Martins Babale, In his remark, Gov. Mohammed Bindow of Adamawa said his administration had already put measures in place to boost sports in the state since it is a major uniting factor among diverse groups.

He said the administration was built on three cardinal objectives which included development, peace and poverty reduction.

3SC: The Slow Death Of A Cultural Icon By Olashina Okeleji

As far as clubs with history go, there are few as influential as Shooting Stars SC (3SC). Back in 1976, the famed club from Ibadan became the first Nigerian clubside to win an African club competition, and is to this day, one of only two (the other being Enyimba) to taste victory twice on the continent.

Their five league titles and four FA Cups makes them one of the most successful teams in the country, and their fan base is large—the Lekan Salami Stadium seats just under 20,000, but is regularly packed out for the Oluyole Warriors on Matchday.

When the 2017/2018 season resumes though, this storied club will be conspicuously absent from the league roster. They were one of four teams to suffer the ignominy of relegation in 2016/2017, amassing 13 wins and averaging less than a goal a game in a largely forgettable campaign.

Ironically, their 50-point haul would have seen them to safety in in each of the last three campaigns, but that is cold comfort for a side that earned promotion back to the NPFL only three seasons ago. As a matter of fact, their best position in the last decade, almost half of which has been spent out of the top flight, was 9th in 2015; they have trod water most of the way through and can feel like they have had this coming.

Trying to diagnose what or where exactly it went wrong is a bit of a problematic exercise. I saw Shooting Stars host two-time African champions Enyimba this past season in front of a vocal home crowd, and more than deserve their 1-0 victory. They hammered the People’s Elephant relentlessly, and could have run up the score with a bit more of a clinical touch. So, while ultimately they fell short, this did not seem like 3SC were one of the worst four teams in the league.

Inevitably, the buck then passes onto the administration. That a large majority of Nigerian clubs are bankrolled by state governments is nothing new, but the unfortunate effect of this is that clubs suffer or prosper as a consequence of the level of priority each regime accords to sports in general, and football in particular.

Executive Chairman of the club Gbolagade Busari earlier in the week insisted there had been adequate funding for the team from the state government, which makes it odd then that players of the club, on the eve of the final game of the season, staged a strike demanding payment of outstanding salaries and allowances. Where then did the monthly subventions go?

“The players said pointedly that they are fighting for their right to be paid salaries, allowances and match bonuses,” a source told Supersport

“They are insisting on not calling off the strike or returning to the training ground until every indebtedness owed to them is fully paid by the management. They feared that the management will not pay the outstanding entitlements once the on-going league season comes to an end on Sunday. They appeared not to trust the management any longer as previous promises to off-set the bills have gone unheeded. They reasoned that if the management value their welfare and the interest of the team they could even break bank to pay knowing fully well that anything short of three points at Niger Tornadoes will spell doom for the team.”

The players would of course go on to lose that final game in Lokoja, and while it is easy to blame the strike action, that would ignore the larger picture. A distinct lack of stability over the last decade is not the result of an isolated strike action, but of the very source of the agitation.

There has to be greater accountability and a coherent plan for the club going forward. The Executive Chairman has teased wholesale changes from top to bottom, a move which seems more reactionary than visionary. It was telling that Mr Busari mentioned gate takings during matches (even though the figure of one million Naira given does not add up), as this is one area from which the club can get ancillary financing; even while in the Nigeria Nationwide League, the support for 3SC is full-blooded and intense.

To the residents of Ibadan, and many such as myself [a Stationary Stores fan] who chose to support the club that produced Nigerian footballing greats like Felix Owolabi, the late Muda Lawal and Segun Odegbami; stars of the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations, Shooting Stars SC is more than just a club. It is a cultural icon.

Until those in charge see it as such, and honour its history and tradition, this is what it will be reduced to: a yoyo club.

Ugo Ehiogu Dies From Cardiac Arrest

Ugochukwu Ehiogu, a Nigerian-born ex-England international defender, died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Thursday. He suffered the cardiac arrest at the training ground of Tottenham Hotspur, where he was managing the U-23 team. His death was however announced this morning by his employers.

He was 44 years. Born of Nigerian parents in Homerton, England, on November 3, 1972, Ehiogu opted to play for the English national team despite spirited attempts by Nigeria to make him switch loyalty.

 

After retiring, he founded his own record label called “Dirty Hit”.

Die Hard Chelsea And Manchester Fans Almost Die For Loyalty

The love of football and the loyalty fans have for their clubs almost lead to the death of hundreds of  football lovers in Delta State. Day, Fans escaped death while many others sustained various degrees of injury at Ojobo community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State when a football viewing center they had converged to watch the European Premier League, EPL match collapsed on them. Located at Oyateigha II quarters of the community, the viewing center which was built by the shore wall protection of the riverine community by an indigene of the community, was said to have collapse owing to the huge weight of the football fans that had trooped in to watch the Manchester United versus Chelsea match.

Giving details of the incident, a resident of the community, Boumoepre Youkere said the building which is mostly built with wood and zinc materials, came down at about 4:30p.m amidst screams from the fans. “The building was overcrowded when it came down. At the end of the carnage, a lot of persons sustained various degrees of bone injuries as personal effects were also missing during the incident,” he added.

Nigerian Beach Soccer Players Denied US Visas

Reports states that the United States embassy has denied the visa applications of seven players of the national beach soccer team. The players require transit visa to attend the Beach Soccer World Cup in Bahamas. Five of the twelve Sand Eagles players were issued visas.

The five players who were given the transit visa include the captain, Olawale Isiaka, Ibenegbu Ikechukwu, Godspower Igudia, Suleiman Ogodo and Paul Danjuma.

One of the players denied is Abu Azeez who was also denied the Portuguese visa to attend the 2011 World Cup. It would be recalled that only seven of the beach soccer players were given visas to attend the World Cup in Portugal.

Federal University Dutse Spends 7 billion To Renovate Facilities

The Federal University Dutse has said in a new report that it has spent about 7 billion to renovate the sports facilities to be used in the upcoming Nigerian Universities Games Association preliminaries 2107.

Illaysu Ussain, the sports director had the university made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

“About N7 million was spent to renovate facilities to be used during the exercise.

“The renovation is part of our preparations to successfully host the 2017 Zone ‘A’ NUGA preliminaries.

“So, all facilities to be used for the games have been put in to ensure, hitch-free, smooth and successful conduct of the competition,” the sports director assured.

Hussain lauded the efforts of the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Fatima Muktar, for her support and cooperation in the ongoing preparations for the games.

NAN reports that 19 universities from the zone will compete for tickets to the NUGA Games at the preliminaries, billed to take place from April 2 to April 8.

A team of experts from Zone A of the NUGA Council had on March 14, inspected facilities at the university and other venues in preparation for the preliminaries.

The council also appointed 13 coordinators for the games to feature in the preliminaries which include: football, basketball, volleyball, handball, hockey, badminton, tennis and table tennis.

Others are; swimming, athletics, chess, Taekwando, cricket, scrabble, squash and judo.

Ideye: How Mikel Convinced Me To Join Tianjin TEDA

Brown Ideye has admitted that he decided to join Tianjin TEDA, after speaking with Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel about the Chinese Super League outfit.

Ideye joined TEDA this week and is set to make his debut against Shandong Luneng on Saturday.

The 28-year-old has already been handed the No. 39 shirt and will compete with Gabon striker Malick Evouna for a place in the starting line-up.

“Mikel has told me about the whole team, and I will put my best into training and I will follow the coach’s instruction and get through the training team.

“I watched the Super League and I believe that with my current physical condition, I can make my debut at any time, I will strive for a position in the starting lineup”, Ideye stated in a chat with sports.enorth.com.cn.

Mourinho Called Me a Coward And a Cry Baby – Ozil

Arsenal midfielder, Mesut Ozil, has revealed that Jose Mourinho called him a “coward” and a “cry baby,” during an angry half-time bust-up while they were both at Real Madrid.

Ozil spent three seasons playing under Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Germany international recalls one time the current Manchester United boss questioned his work ethic.

“Mourinho screamed at me ‘Do you think two nice passes are enough? You think you are too good to enter a duel. You think you are so good that you can play at 50 per cent. Do you know what it looks like when you enter a duel? Let me show you.’ He then tiptoed around the dressing room with his hands close to his body and pursed lips,” read an extract from Ozil’s book ‘Die Magie des Spiels’, which is being serialised in Bild.

“I lost it and screamed at him to go out there on the pitch and play himself, taking off my jersey and throwing it at his feet. I told him to put it on and go out there.

“Mourinho was just laughing and sniped ‘Are you giving up already? You are such a coward. What do you want to do? Get in the warm shower and wash your hair? Do you want to be alone? Or would you rather show your team-mates, the fans and me what you can do? You know what Mesut, why don’t you start crying! You are such a crybaby, get in the shower. We do not need you.’

“I grabbed my towel and walked past him into the showers without saying a word to him.

“I later apologised for my behaviour to captain Sergio Ramos and the rest of the team.”

Why Rooney Would Make Move Back To Everton

He left Goodison Park in 2004 for Manchester United and he has gone on to become the record goalscorer for both club and count.

Rooney recently rejected a mega million move to the Chinese Super League, and there have been lot of talks that the 31-year-old striker could face the exit doors at Old Trafford in the summer.

Ronald Koeman stated that Rooney still has something to offer at the top level of the game, and that could be with his side Everton.

“I still think Wayne Rooney is playing at a high level and he made a good choice staying at Manchester United and in the Premier League.

“He still has two or three years in front of him to play at the highest level.

“What will happen at the end of the season, I do not know? In my opinion he’s one of the players who can make Everton stronger than they are now’ he explained.

Source: NAIL.com